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Digital Manufacturing: How companies increase added value with SAP and FORCAM ENISCO

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In the digital age, networking is the engine for value creation. Only by integrating the three dimensions of machine data, system landscape and technology can the potential for higher productivity be fully exploited. This is possible with SAP Digital Manufacturing (SAP DM) and FORCAM ENISCO

From Konstantin Lackmann, FORCAM ENISCO GmbH, Mai 2024

Heidelberg, May 2024The industry association BDI is ringing the alarm bells: European industry is under enormous pressure. Expensive energy, crippling bureaucracy and meagre growth are one thing. International crises, fierce competition between locations and threats to democracy and freedom are the other. This shows: The need for digital transformation in manufacturing companies has never been greater. Digital manufacturing can measurably increase productivity and value creation and secure locations and jobs, even in high-wage countries such as Germany and Switzerland. The most important goal for every digitalization project is to lead to mature use cases and new business models that secure competitiveness in the long term. For manufacturing companies, it is crucial for success that the three levels of machine data, system landscape and technology work together smoothly. SAP Digital Manufacturing (SAP DM) and FORCAM ENISCO’s Next Generation Connectivity make this possible.

1st Dimension: Machine data

Lifting the Data Treasure in the Machine Park

As the name suggests, the age of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is all about connecting physical objects with a data-driven network. In the manufacturing industry, this connectivity takes place in the factory. The machine park contains a treasure trove of data that companies can use to increase their productivity.
Interfaces for the data flows are required in order to lift this treasure trove of data. These are usually machine control systems or sensors. Large amounts of information must be collected and forwarded to production control systems such as a Manufacturing Execution System (MES).
Even at this early stage, it is important to set the course for productive use: Can the IT infrastructure cope with the large volume of data? Can data be filtered or compressed right at the start so that only the important information is forwarded to other networks?
The question of how the digital twin will be mapped in the system must also be clarified at an early stage in order to keep the wealth of solutions and IIoT apps that are to be integrated scalable for larger deployments.
This requires a powerful connectivity solution at machine level that works both in the cloud and locally (on-premise). With the AC4DC solution from FORCAM ENISCO, companies can digitally connect all common production machines – regardless of year of manufacture or manufacturer – and scale networking quickly and easily on a global scale.
FORCAM ENISCO is a partner of SAP: Our connectivity solution harmonizes all signals into a uniform data model that is available for real-time analyses in the MES solution world of SAP Digital Manufacturing.

2nd Dimension: System Landscape

Networking Shop Floor and Top Floor

The market for digital solutions and IIoT components is constantly and rapidly changing. New, specialized approaches and best practices are developed with every pilot project. Companies need to find their own way to avoid data silo structures and integrate existing and required systems seamlessly.
Speaking for the SAP world: SAP Production Planning & Scheduling, SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence, SAP Manufacturing Execution and SAP Production Connectivity – the list could be extended individually – must be integrated in digital production in such a way that consistency between the top floor and shop floor is guaranteed.
Only when networking takes place not only from physical to digital, but also from digital to digital, will decision-makers be able to fully exploit the potential of digitalization in business applications and evaluate new business models.
This is what the SAP Digital Manufacturing solution does. SAP DM is a cloud-based MES solution with which all MES functionalities based on the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) can be seamlessly integrated into the entire SAP world. A company’s planning and production become an end-to-end data world in which enterprise resource planning (ERP) is seamlessly integrated with MES.

3rd Dimension: Technology

Integrating the MES platform and IIoT

Digitalization provides the solution for major global goals such as sustainable business. According to figures from the industry association bitkom, 45% of companies want to be climate-neutral by 2030 and a further 37% by 2040. 77% have already been able to reduce their CO2 emissions through the use of digital technologies and applications.
Accordingly, the triumph of digitalization is accelerating and various IT megatrends are taking effect – blockchain technology, microservices, containerization and Kubernetes.
They enable flexible and scalable IT architectures, which in turn give rise to new use cases – such as making the transportation of sensitive goods more secure.

It should be possible to integrate the new possibilities into a holistic IT architecture:

  • Analysis functions with Big Data
  • Machine-to-machine communication
  • Machine learning with AI
  • Control of systems via mobile voice input

At a strategic level, the development means that companies should network their digital transformation initiatives within their organization and strive to integrate all activities from the outset.
At a technological level, this means relying on integrative platform solutions. What is needed is a powerful MES platform on which a wide variety of systems and apps can work in an integrated manner.

How MES and IIoT differ – and complement each other

MES versus IIoT: Which technology is the most suitable platform for mapping manufacturing processes horizontally and vertically?
The concepts of MES and IIoT are often seen as opposites, but they can complement each other. Both solution worlds have the goal of enabling more efficient production in manufacturing. Both solution worlds are about collecting and processing data and drawing analyses and conclusions from it.
What is the difference? IIoT systems enable a unique view of technical real-time data from machines, systems or processes. Information such as temperatures, speeds and consumption are recorded.
In contrast, modern MES enable a 360-degree view of all relevant data, processes and connected systems. MES data can also be used at a higher business management level because it places the production data in the context of the respective order and enables the ERP planning level to draw important conclusions – for example on energy and resource efficiency.

In its white paper on the topic, the VDMA industry association summarizes:
„MES remains the single point of truth across the entire value chain for execution on the shop floor and its digitalized data.“

Source: VDMA White Paper: ‘MES and Industrial IoT – Requirements for Shop Floor IT for Successful Smart Manufacturing’, 10/2022

Konstantin Lackmann is responsible for consulting and services for the SAP Digital Manufacturing cloud solution at FORCAM ENISCO Holding. The industrial engineering graduate has been working as a digitalization expert in the manufacturing industry for many years. As a consultant in various companies, he has always focused on customer-oriented solutions for the smart factory.

Konstantin Lackmann

Vice President SAP Digital Manufacturing